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 À La Carte Information, //help document//
Captain Smith
Posted: Mar 17 2011, 10:56 AM


Captain of the RMS Titanic
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Group: Admin
Posts: 162
Member No.: 1
Joined: 13-October 10



A LA CARTE RESTAURANT

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In addition to taking meals in the main dining saloon, first-class passengers could make reservations in the deluxe À la Carte Restaurant located aft on the Bridge Deck. What had started as a small, 25-table deluxe restaurant on theOlympic had expanded into a 140 seat social club on Titanic just a year later. The addition of this exclusive and expensive dining room accidentally created a "First-Class, First-Class.”

Informed observers noted, “The introduction of the restaurant appears to be creating a new class of passenger, who assumes an air of superiority and holds aloof from the ordinary saloon diner.”

Ordinarily, meals for all classes on Titanic were included in the price of the passage and diners selected their meals from a generous, but fixed menu. However, in the À la Carte Restaurant diners could chose each course separately from a wider selection than that available in the main dining saloon. Lucy, Lady Duff Gordon, internationally known couturier, traveling with her husband, Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon, wrote of the experience, “Fancy strawberries in April, and in mid ocean. The whole thing is positively uncanny. Why, you would think you were at the Ritz.” And some passengers did indeed refer to this dining room as "The Ritz."

With this luxury came a price, literally. Passengers had to pay for their meals out of pocket just as in any restaurant on shore and were presented with a bill from a waiter's pad upon which their menu selections had been written. White Star did take £3 to £5 off the cost of the passage ticket, so long as the passenger made exclusive use of the À la Carte Restaurant; however, given the cost of the menu items, it was easy for passengers to spend an amount equal to that on "The Ritz’s” lavish meals. The room itself was decorated in the French style, Louis VI, and featured walls with delicate walnut veneers set off by gilded swags and festoons. These gilded swags were repeated in the plaster ceiling and on the boarders of the china. Crystal chandeliers hung overhead, but with a subtle difference from those on shore: these fixtures had been constructed to hang rigidly from the ceiling making the gentle sway of the Titanic less noticeable to diners.

Another new feature on Titanic was the "Café Parisien", which was adjacent to the À la Carte Restaurant. Passengers seated here could choose meals from the À la Carte menu, but in the café large picture windows afforded a view of the sea while dining--something that had never been done on a British ship before. This room also had its own distinctive china.

If the weather cooperated, the windows could be rolled down and passengers could dine al fresco - another Titanic first. On her first and only voyage, the Café Parisien proved to be particularly popular with the younger set traveling in first-class.

Credit RMSTitanic.net
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